Book

Violence and New Religious Movements

Edited by James R. Lewis

Published in print March 2011 | ISBN: 9780199735631
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199894512 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199735631.001.0001
Violence and New Religious Movements

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The connection between cults and violence has been a topic of intense public interest that has been fueled by dramatic incidents of mass violence involving certain new religious movements (NRMs). Those that have made international headlines include the Jonestown murder-suicides, the ATF/FBI raid on the Mount Carmel community, the Solar Temple murder-suicides, the Tokyo subway poison-gas attack in 1995, and the Heaven’s Gate suicides. The earliest approaches to NRM-related violence focused on the personality of the leader and emphasized the role of the group’s totalistic organization. More recently, the tendency has been to incorporate external forces such as hostile apostates and intrusive governmental agencies and to construct general models that take both internal and external factors into account. The relatively mature state of the literature on new religions and violence puts contemporary researchers in a position to ask different sorts of questions and to undertake different lines of analyses than were previously possible. For example, rather than attempting to construct a general model of all NRM-related violence, what if one focused instead on understanding more specific kinds of violence, such as group suicide? While Sects and Violence covers the groups that have generated the most headlines, it provides a richer survey by examining ten to twelve other groups that have been involved in violence. This collection also examines NRMs that have been the target of violence. The present volume represents the culmination of decades of reflection by scholarly specialists.

Keywords: violence; cults; sects; new religious movements; group suicide

Book.  456 pages. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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Table of Contents

Introduction in Violence and New Religious Movements

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Deciphering the NRM-Violence Connection in Violence and New Religious Movements

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Minority Religions and the Context of Violence in Violence and New Religious Movements

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Reciprocal Totalism in Violence and New Religious Movements

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Narratives of Persecution, Suffering, and Martyrdom in Violence and New Religious Movements

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Revisiting the Branch Davidian Mass Suicide Debate in Violence and New Religious Movements

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Religion and Violence in Japan in Violence and New Religious Movements

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The Euphemization of Violence in Violence and New Religious Movements

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